Havasu Falls

I’ve visited Havasupai Reservation twice, once on Memorial Day in 2006 and again in June of 2008.  I did it both times for conveniency reasons (close proximity to the other hikes I did) and both times it was extremely HOT!!!

The visit to Havasupai Reservation and its beautiful waterfalls requires some planning.  The closest town to the reservation is Peach Springs, by which you have to take a side road to get to Hualapai Top parking lot (60 miles with no possibility of camping).  We planned on a one-day hike so we decided to sleep in the car the night before the hike.  There were many cars there already when we got there at around 8pm.  Some of the people had the same idea as we did, and some left their cars overnight as they spent the night at the village.

We woke up pretty early and were on the trail at around 7am.  The whole trail is very easy.  First you have to descend from the parking lot into a wide canyon (not too steep but not too flat, dirt road with some rocks) which leads straight to the Havasupai village.  If you leave early enough there is some shade provided by walls of the canyon at the beginning of the hike.  There is no water anywhere along the trail (except at the very end nearing the village), as there is none at the parking lot so make sure you get plenty in Peach Springs or whatever town you decide to come from!  The flat part of the trail consists of gravel.  It certainly does not require hiking boots, regular sport shoes will do.  Even though the distance from the parking lot to the village is 8 miles, we covered it in only 2 1/2 hours (quick walk but not uncomfortable).  The canyon around you is very pretty, although, unfortunately, not without human trace…  there is trash laying everywhere, ranging from empty water bottles to empty candy wrappers…  such a shame.

There is not much greenery along the trail, except the end of it, where you’ll know you’re nearing the Havasupai village.  Once you get into the village you’re supposed to register (there is a clearly marked office).  After we got a permit (we did both times although I never saw anybody checking them) and a map of the falls location we headed out to see Havasu Falls first (about a mile from the village).

Words cannot express the beauty of the falls…  Imagine walking in a dry canyon on a dusty gravel road, hot, craving water and solitude, and you stumble upon this sight:

It is simply breathtaking!!!  It looked like an oasis in a dry red canyon desert.  Now keep in mind that this picture was taken before the big flood of 2009 which created a totally new waterfall and destroyed others…  From what I understand the Havasu Fall is now two-streamed as opposed to one big stream as seen in my shot.  If you decide to go there, I would love to see a picture of the new look!

I’ve visited Havasupai Reservation twice, once on Memorial Day in 2006 and again in June of 2008. I did it both times for conveniency reasons (close proximity to the other hikes I did) and both times it was extremely HOT!!!

The visit to Havasupai Reservation and its beautiful waterfalls requires some planning. The closest town to the reservation is Peach Springs, by which you have to take a side road to get to Hualapai Top parking lot (60 miles with no possibility of camping). We planned on a one-day hike so we decided to sleep in the car the night before the hike. There were many cars there already when we got there at around 8pm. Some of the people had the same idea as we did, and some left their cars overnight as they spent the night at the village.

We woke up pretty early and were on the trail at around 7am. The whole trail is very easy. First you have to descend from the parking lot into a wide canyon (not too steep but not too flat, dirt road with some rocks) which leads straight to the Havasupai village. If you leave early enough there is some shade provided by walls of the canyon at the beginning of the hike. There is no water anywhere along the trail (except at the very end nearing the village), as there is none at the parking lot so make sure you get plenty in Peach Springs or whatever town you decide to come from! The flat part of the trail consists of gravel. It certainly does not require hiking boots, regular sport shoes will do. Even though the distance from the parking lot to the village is 8 miles, we covered it in only 2 1/2 hours (quick walk but not uncomfortable). The canyon around you is very pretty, although, unfortunately, not without human trace… there is trash laying everywhere, ranging from empty water bottles to empty candy wrappers… such a shame.

There is not much greenery along the trail, except the end of it, where you’ll know you’re nearing the Havasupai village. Once you get into the village you’re supposed to register (there is a clearly marked office). After we got a permit (we did both times although I never saw anybody checking them) and a map of the falls location we headed out to see Havasu Falls first (about a mile from the village).

Words cannot express the beauty of the falls… Imagine walking in a dry canyon on a dusty gravel road, hot, craving water and solitude, and you stumble upon this sight:

It is simply breathtaking!!! It looked like an oasis in a dry red canyon desert. Now keep in mind that this picture was taken before the big flood of 2009 which created a totally new waterfall and destroyed others… From what I understand the Havasu Fall is now two-streamed as opposed to one big stream as seen in my shot. If you decide to go there, I would love to see a picture of the new look!

Havasu Falls seen from the bottom

After enjoying the waterfall (again, the earlier you get there, the better, as you will encounter crowds of teenagers in the afternoon) we headed out to see the Moony Falls. In order to get there we had to go through the very crowded campground (with running potable water) and a little of a dusty wide trail.

The Moony Falls is very different from the Havasu Falls. It’s not as majestic, and having seen Havasu waterfall it doesn’t make such an impact, but nevertheless, it is still beautiful.

pic of moony

In order to get down to the waterfall, we had to go through a combination of a trail, tunnel carved out of a rock, and down a rocky vertical wall. The descent looks VERY intimidating but it’s really not!! The rock is very well carved out to provide stable footing and it’s reinforced with chains and ladders. It gets a little slippery at the bottom from the mist of the waterfall, but if you’re careful you’ll have nothing to worry about. If you have no major injuries you should be fine.

After talking a breather and sinking in the beauty of the waterfall we started heading back. It is worth mentioning that there is a trail along a river formed by the Moony Falls that leads to Beaver Falls. During my first visit we started hiking it but encontered an obstacle of huge boulders and due to fear of twisting an ankle (and also limited time) we decided to skip. I hear that Beaver Falls consist of multiple small cascades.

On our way back we stopped by Navajo Falls. I won’t include the description of the trail and its condition here since it’s the falls there were totally destructed by the 2009 flood. I’m including some pictures though for those interested in what they looked like.

We decided to head back… Even though there is a lodge in the village and a campground nearby we decided to go back the same day, both times we were there. I’d rather not mention in the website the reason, so if you’re really interested you can drop me an e-mail. We enjoyed late lunch in the village little restaurant (greasy but very satisfying food after a long day’s hike) and started going back. There are other options besides hiking back of course: you may decide to stay the night; or you can choose other ways of transport: arrange for horses or helicopter drop-off from the Havasupai website.
It was a loooong day’s hike for us (around 28 miles total) but it was definitely worth it!!

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